Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I've Found A Friend O Such A Friend"1 (Lyrics)
1 Timothy 3:15 – If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (NIV)
I am simply amazed at the number of people whom I know, including family members, who have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in regards to God and church. Sometimes, I feel like a magnet that draws people to myself who have been so hurt by the bride of Christ that they have not only left the church, but by doing so, have eventually also lost their faith in God. Every new story brings new heartache over this dilemma. The main problem is that people view the church as God's representative and voice on this earth, and indeed, that is what the church is supposed to be. But what we forget is that the church is made up of people — fallible people who are seeking to do the best they can in Christ — but who also fail desperately from time to time. This is why Christians, especially Christians who may bear the brunt of the church's failings, must be strong enough to trust that God is able amidst His bride's failures. God is able to direct us to the truth of Scripture to enable us to stand strong and tall when others knock us down, just as Martin Luther did so many years ago when he knew that he was right, though thousands stood against him. God is able to empower us to forgive those who trespass against us in the name of Christ. God is able to vindicate, justify, and grant us the peace that passes understanding when our reputations and characters are assassinated by those who believe that they have made godly decisions in our regard. God is able to continue to work within His church to make her spotless before Him, if only we will persevere to trust Him, instead of those who represent Him. We must therefore never ever make the terrible mistake of regarding the church as equal to God.
She is fallible; He is not.
This is the truth which I share with those whom I meet who have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, whose faith has been broken by the brokenness of God's people; people who have walked or crept or run away feeling so hurt and rejected and judged that they can no longer believe that God loves or cares about them, because to them, His representative on earth, the church, does not.
So today, if you know someone or you are someone who is thinking of leaving the church because of the pain it is inflicting upon you, or because of the sin it is committing against others, stop and consider this: Who is it you really worship? Who is it you praise and give thanks to and pray to on Sundays? Who knows all truth at all times and will make all things right on that final day? Consider also the forgiveness which has been and is now yours in Christ Jesus, and in His strength and humility, forgive as you have been forgiven; for it is only as we forgive that God can continue to use each and every one of us to love one another as He has loved us, and to bring hope and healing to His bride, the church, and to the world.
Prayer: Father God, we thank You for Your church, Your people, Your bride, and we pray today for cleansing, healing, forgiveness, and love to radiate from her, that all people will see and understand the great love and forgiveness that You have for them, no matter who they are or what they have done. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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Well said. It happens too often.
So true Lynne. Seen so much of this myself.
Regarding your devotional from today, September 18. “Amen sister!”
Well put and right on! Thank you so much. I always enjoy your devotionals.
Well said. Thanks for writing to us.
Thank you Lynne,
A lot of people miss that point entirely.
Thanks, Lynne, so true. I am going to give this (after prayerful consideration!) to a family member.
Thank you so very much for your message today!! I say, “Amen, Sister!” I pray that many people read, understand and follow your message, as it is so timely and needed!
Hugs and lots of blessings.
Lynne – thank you for calling attention to a serious problem in the church. Far too often believers have misrepresented Christ and have caused pain to others. I pray those who have turned away from God will hear your message today and experience the hope and healing of our Savior.
This message seems fitting as a sermonette to fill a need where relationships are difficult.
May we all hear it and heed it.
What an excellent devotional! I especially like your questions. People do occasionally forget/need reminding as to who they worship and the real reason that we go to church! (wouldn’t think they’d need reminding, but some do).
Please continue to write!
Thanks for the timely devotional. I just found out this week that our church wants our pastor out. I’ve been praying a lot about this. I have to keep coming back for forgiveness, since my thinking right now doesn’t always head towards forgiving them and showing them grace.
What really helped me was the bit about Martin Luther. Just today, I had prayed asking if I was seeing the situation all wrong. Scripture tells me I wasn’t, yet no one else seemed to follow what scripture was saying. So being reminded that Martin Luther was standing alone based on what God said, was an answer to prayer. As much as I’d like to jump ship and find another church right now, I will stay, pray, and work at showing grace. I’ll only move on if God says it is time.
Thanks again for the devotional.
Thanks Lynne for this poignant prayer reminder. I have several grandchildren — all adults. None go to church, yet most consider themselves spiritual. My daughter says wise things on facebook. She often encourages me and urges prayer, but she did not bring her children up in the church.
After my son died I visited the church we attended when his children were toddlers and took some family with me. It had been a large thriving church. Now youth strumming guitars led loud tuneless repetitive words on a screen. I saw no joy on blank faces. The hymn books with great words of faith were gone, thrown out with the bath water. I say now, throw out the screens. Does anyone worship in theatrical emptiness? Did the Sunday School lessons teach the faith of Bible heroes and lead children to Christ? Were they just a time to color pictures? Lord forgive me for failing them all. Help me to witness to each one and to the great grandchildren.
I have an ongoing problem that this devotional you presented for today.
I helped someone for a short time, who then disappeared.
My situation is, although I pray for FATHER to remove the focus of betrayal, satan drags it back to the forefront of my mind. I wake, with the thought, sometimes dream. None of my requests were answered.
I am trying to avoid taking action. I am battling the question, is this revenge for betrayal?
I take my future eternity seriously.
And my love for FATHER.
HE knows my heart, and I listen for HIS voice and I know satan’s many paths or approach. Satan never gives up. But FATHER provides all I need to reflect any & all things satan throws in my path.
I don’t want to act on something best let go.
Lynne, thank you for your devotional, today’s and all precious.
And thank you for your thoughts.
Thank you, Lynne, for sharing what only the Holy Spirit could have put on your heart! This is truly inspiring and encouraging.
Blessings on you, as you continue to serve Him with your gifts.